On the night of a historic W for the Gophers in Madison, Hippo Campus took an unfortunate L in St. Paul.
On night two of the band's residency in St. Paul for their “Bambi” tour, special guest NOW, NOW opened up the show with variable energy. Some songs seemed to connect with the crowd while others just filled up time until the big act.
As the massive hanging tower speakers cooled down after the band's guitar riffs, the pit dispersed, more drinks were bought and childish (literally) anticipation filled the St. Paul venue.
The lights lowered, an odd, elvish-looking tree was projected as the backdrop and the gentlemen of the hour walked onto the stage with shrill “oh my gods” greeting them.
The locally-bred band had the opportunity to channel all the hype from the crowd into something absolutely magical. Almost every attendee — old and young, child and chaperone alike — had a beaming smile on their face when the show started.
As the show went on, however, the vibe started to die off.
Not even the lights looking straight out of a '70s Miami nightclub or the Hippo Campus logo (audaciously similar to Prince’s symbol) could save the crowd from what was simply just another stop on tour.
“Hi, hey … yeah I don’t have anything to say, let’s just do it,” guitarist Nathan Stocker said about halfway through the show.
A real loving way to address hometown fans who braved freezing temps to watch a show they could have just as easily seen in California, Texas or Arizona.
Playing a generic set is absolutely understandable and expected of a band on a regular tour stop. Night after night a band can’t muster up energy that simply isn’t there to play a unique show for the crowd.
But when you’re back to your old stomping grounds, everyone should be left speechless.
Sure, the band jumped around and got the pit going during popular hits like “Buttercup” and “South.” All credit should given to the band’s trumpet player, DeCarlo Jackson. Every time the spotlight shone on him, he delivered a serenade of beautifully pitched brass that reverberated throughout the hall.
Other than that? The boys should have stayed south.